Although "Sweetness #9" is a work of fiction, Stephan Clark does an exquisite job of bringing to light the horrors of the American food industry and our obsession with artificial, processed foods. I have read several nonfiction pieces dealing with the same issue (i.e. "Tomatoland", "Omnivore's Dilemma", "Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil", "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle", and "Fast Food Nation" all tackle the same issues brought to light in "Sweetness #9"). Clark's novel definitely holds a candle to these works of nonfiction through his thorough research and his engaging storytelling style.
As the main character David states, "The notion of food safety is a pure mirage." Companies are given the green light to feed us chemicals and overly processed foods as long as it does not lead to cancer. But what about the other dangers with which our society is plagued? Obesity, depression, addiction, and even laziness ("Are we really a country that can't cut our own cantaloupe now?")
Clark's work of fiction is another testament to the growing health issues that we face in our own country and internationally, as well. As countries become more developed, the quality of food decreases, thus allowing more processed foods to seep into our diets. "Sweetness #9" will have a lasting impact on its reader and, hopefully, will awaken our society about the atrocities of food production. This book could potentially impact our modern-day food industry in much the same way that Chicago's meat-packing plants were impacted by Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle".